Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Contours of Mull (the word is Sehnsucht, I'm not showing off, but if I am it's still cool and so am I)

single track roads

A fish and chip van in Tobermory with a routier award.
The best.


Moon hills

Beach at Calgary





Maggie said...

Dunroamin? More like Dunfishin I think.

Great photo, must remember to show it to husband, who loves boats.

Best wishes from sunnyish Liverpool

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Maggie - of course, it is Dunfishin. Makes a great roof, I think.

Liz and Miranda I am on this part of Mull now. Yes, Sehnsucht is a lovely word.

Reading the Signs said...

well, not literally "on" - obviously.

The Ice Maiden said...

You, Putting on the RTS, have got me reading all sorts of coincidences as meaningful synchronicities and all that jazz. Shame, shame on you. And I used to have such a lucid, scientific brain (what's that global guffawing noise I hear accompanying that statement? I resent that, The World, I resent it deeply). Before I launch into how beautiful your other pictures are, I need to tell you I saw the very same butterfly (European Peacock, or just Peacock, Nymphalis Inachis io, neitoperhonen or Maiden (yup, not making this up) Butterfly in Finnish) about thirty-two steps before taking the recently-posted roots photo - and it was my first butterfly of the summer, too, which carries extra meaning and significance, as anyone who has read their Moomin books will know.

Right. No cow's arse is safe in my presence today, Signsy-Kolmio, and it's your own fault, so blame yourself most harshly. What I need to bring up is another one of those shocking coincidences (if one really looks for them) - I have just realised Scotland has kallios too, those rocky outcrops where the landscape's bone structure shows through. (What the devil are they called in Scottish/English? Don't say "rock". It's not good enough. Or "cliff". Those are sheer, and always at the seaside.) We, of course, have them too, and ours are granite - and so are Scotland's, I am lead to believe. The main difference being ours are rubbed smooth by the Ice Age, whereas Scotland's bones are scraggier.

Personally, I possibly loved the shot of the pebbles best - isn't it funny, amongst all that beauty? That may be because my memories of Scotland include one of a wade in a river (well, water that seemed to have a current) where Loch Archaig and another, forgotten-named Loch meet. In the middle of the loch was a, for want of a better word, pebble-island, which consisted of round stones, not as beautiful in colour as yours, but each single one patterned with concentric circles of light grey and near-black, like hundreds of eyes, looking up at me, benign, archaic, funny, wonderful. I took forever picking and choosing two about the size of my fist, maybe a mite smaller, which I kept forever until I had to give everything up six years later. The loss of them still eats me now. My life could have been marked with meaningful pebbles I have picked up from places visited and loved, if I didn't live a life where every so many years I have to lose it all.

Staggeringly beautiful shots you have here. Stunning. Thought-provoking. Happiness-inducing. Why don't more people post beautiful matter like this for all of us to enjoy? It's not fair.

I'll shut up for a moment and let others have some space too. Rest assured, though (or be warned, depending on you point of view), I will be back with more waffle.

Ms Signs, dear lady - thank you for bringing beauty and thought-provokingness into the world.


Reading the Signs said...

I should warn you, ice maiden, that once you begin to Read the Signs - well, it's like gaining a faculty, innit? You just begin to see them everywhere. Other people may think you have gone bonkers, but I won't.

And how is this for spookiness? It was on the tip of my tongue (well, finger) to ask if anyone knew the name of the butterfly. Also my first (my only) butterfly of summer. Never did read the Moomin books, though.

I don't know much about rocks and such and never paid attention in geography at school. What I can tell you is that Iona is granite and basalt (that being the more ancient) whereas Mull is just granite. I love the notion of a landcape having a bone structure. I have always felt that one can see this most clearly in winter.

The pebbles are lovely, and I have (all ex-Steiner kids have, or maybe everyone does) a thing about stones. I have brought some home with me. I will be getting a small stone polishing thing soon.

Beautiful description of the pebble island, ms ice maiden. Stones are always, to some extent, about loss, whether one keeps or loses them. I did (and this gets spookier and awesomer) write something about this very thing once.

That's so pants said...

It is seriously cool and so are you - but you already know I thing that.

Reading the Signs said...

Good words from the source never lose their power, ms ubercool Pants. Hope the work is going ok. Hm - mulling.

nmj said...

Hey Signs, I feel guilty that Anna MR has not been able to keep her lovely pebbles as I am in the habit of throwing mine away. I love collecting them and later touching them & feeling them, but then one day they start to annoy me & I have to throw them in the garden. I have three that I will keep forever. One from Italy, one from east coast Scotland and one from Madeira. These three are on the desk in my kitchen, where I write & blog & email.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying this. This array of wonderful photography of places I would never have seen. Lovely, Ms Signs.

I too love pebbles. In our front yard, we have a large tree. Grass doesn't grow around the base so we have laid all the pebbles that we have found over the years. Every vacaction, every trip, we keep pebbles, small rocks, that we find. Whenever we see a nice red pebble with a wonderful cut, we pick it up, bring it home, toss it at the base of the tree. I like how every year the colleciton grows and grows, a wonderful assortment of colors, shapes.

Reading the Signs said...

nmj, I used to have a marble-sized stone that looked like a miniature potato I always kept in my pocket for luck. Don't know what became of it, but my fingers miss it sometimes.

goodthomas, I like the idea of your stone collection so much I think I might copy it and do something similar. In Iona there was a labyrinth pattern made by individual stones on a grassy bank that led down to Columba's bay. People come and add new stones to it so it's always there.

Anna MR said...

Gentle Signs, The Lady of the Kolmio, you need to clarify "Stones are always, to some extent, about loss, whether one keeps or loses them." Please. It sounds sad and lovely and poignant, but not sure I know why.

Did I say already how much I've enjoyed your pictures? I've really enjoyed your pictures. Thank you for having the individualist's courage to post them even when somebody had tried to curb your inherent right to make us happy.

See? I can say things in one paragraph, too. Well, two. Well, three.


Miranda said...

"I do behold the world/Wherein there lie the stones"...

Does this answer your question?

Like all Steiner kids I learned German at school but had forgotten Sehnsucht (I remember words like Minderwertigkeitscomplex; what does that tell you about my school?)

Reading the Signs said...

anna, I'm now trying to work out why I said it myself - probably in order to sound sad, lovely and poignant. It's because they speak of the past (and have no mouths to speak with, and yet hold nothing back).

gordon bennett, miranda, what did they teach you in that school? And where, please does that quotation come from?

Feeling quite stupid today and have lost my voice.

Anna MR said...

Conversation with a Stone
Wislawa Szymborska (1962)

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in.
I want to enter your insides,
have a look round,
breathe my fill of you."

"Go away," says the stone.
"I'm shut tight.
Even if you break me to pieces,
we'll all still be closed.
You can grind us to sand,
we still won't let you in."

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in.
I've come out of pure curiosity.
Only life can quench it.
I mean to stroll through your palace,
then go calling on a leaf, a drop of water.
I don't have much time.
My mortality should touch you."

"I'm made of stone," says the stone,
"and must therefore keep a straight face.
Go away.
I don't have the muscles to laugh."

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in.
I hear you have great empty halls inside you,
unseen, their beauty in vain,
soundless, not echoing anyone's steps.
Admit you don't know them well yourself."

"Great and empty, true enough," says the stone,
"but there isn't any room.
Beautiful, perhaps, but not to the taste
of your poor senses.
You may get to know me, but you'll never know
me through.
My whole surface is turned toward you,
all my insides turned away."

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in.
I don't seek refuge for eternity.
I'm not unhappy.
I'm not homeless.
My world is worth returning to.
I'll enter and exit empty-handed.

And my proof I was there
will be only words,
which no one will believe."

"You shall not enter," says the stone.
"You lack the sense of taking part.
No other sense can make up for your missing sense of taking part.
Even sight heightened to become all-seeing
will do you no good without a sense of taking part.
You shall not enter, you have only a sense of what that sense should be,
only its seed, imagination."

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in.
I haven't got two thousand centuries,
so let me come under your roof."

"If you don't believe me," says the stone,
"just ask the leaf, it will tell you the same.
Ask a drop of water, it will say what the leaf has said.
And, finally, ask a hair from your own head.
I am bursting with laughter, yes, laughter, vast laughter,
although I don't know how to laugh."

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in."

"I don't have a door," says the stone.

Reading the Signs said...

Love this, thank you. It has no door but on the other hand it reveals itself completely. Though sometimes you have to break it to get to the crystals.

Anna MR said...

Dear Triangular Lady of the Kolmio, hei. I particularly like this bit

"You lack the sense of taking part.
No other sense can make up for your missing sense of taking part.
Even sight heightened to become all-seeing
will do you no good without a sense of taking part.
You shall not enter, you have only a sense of what that sense should be,
only its seed, imagination."

It reminds me of that thing we were talking about, the gap between the self and immediate existential experience, if you recall.

Miranda said...

We used to cross our hands over our chests and say the same thing every morning. Up until right this minute I thought they did this in every Steiner School, but perhaps not. It's not particularly special, but it does mention stones:

I do behold the world
Wherein there shines the sun
Wherein there gleam the stars
Wherein there lie the stones.

The plants they live and grow
The beasts they feel and live
And man to spirit gives
A dwelling in his soul.

I do behold the soul
That dwelleth within me
God's spirit lives and moves
In heights of world without
In depths of soul within.

Spirit of God, to thee I seeking turn
That strength and grace and skill
For learning and for work
In me may live and grow.

There we have it - from memory, that's how deep it was engrained. I don't have a religious bone in my body, but I liked the "strength and grace and skill" - that seemed to me (still does) to be something to aspire to.

Stones in poems - here's another one: Easter, 1916 by W.B. Yeats: "Too long a sacrifice/Can make a stone of the heart".

There's a wonderful poem by the Scottish poet Tessa Ransford called "The White Stone of Lewis". It's on my blog somewhere.

I keep coming back to look at these wonderful photographs.


andie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reading the Signs said...

I remember reciting "St. Michael of the bright, burning blade" but not this one. Even without a religious bone in one's body (though I confess to having one or two) a verse like this, repeated, must powerfully connect you to the natural world. One of Steiner's is it? I find some of his verses a bit leaden, but so much lives or is lost in translation also.

Will look for Tessa Ransford.

Glad you like the photos - I imagine they must also give you heimweh

Anna MR said...

Signs, Miranda - I have something of a natural aversion to reciting something routinely in unison, be it done by children or grown-ups. This may really only be because of a feeling of unity I perceive it gives to other people, one that I am somehow by nature or nurture or something unable to feel (in other words, plain old ugly envy of those permanently left out by and of life, oh yuck). That said, I think it is also an important and good thing to make children (and indeed, grown-ups) talk about and think about values, there are not enough values in the world these days - and as Miranda says, making the striving for "strength and grace and skill" important is pretty good as values go.

Incidentally, Signs, I hope you're not actually feeling the "I am a talentless pretender with nothing to say, or if I have then I’ve forgotten" feeling. If you are, it probably isn't going to help much if I tell you it is nonsense - you are quite the opposite, the talented and caring intellectual with a whacky fun streak - but I'll tell you so anyway, for the record, and because that's how I perceive you.


Reading the Signs said...

Blimey, lady FomP - I had quite got used to you looking like the mad Solange and now you completely put me off my stride with that arresting new photo of yourself looking, if I may say so, rather gorgeous, except that the sun (or is it an angelic entity) seems to be obliterating part of your face. But let's talk about me: yes, the talented and caring intellectual with whacky streak is definitely something I could live with, thanks dear anna, and let me tell you that today I put an inordinate amount of care into choosing exactly the right kind of Lindt chocolate from the ridiculously vast selection facing me in the shop, I bought myself a thriller to read to help jump start the doppelganger thing I've been working on and accompanied Kirsty McColl and Lou Reed on Perfect Day whilst driving through relentlessly miserable rain. Not very whacky, but a couple of people did at least stare at me while I was trying to park as the sound of us (I forgot) was blaring out.

The chanting in unison - it's a Steiner school thing, lending one's voice, strengthening the group, the repetition allowing sound and meaning to live in the body and well as intellect. It did me no harm - well, living with the lines of Young Lochinvar is a bit of a pain, but apart from that -

Lady FomP said...

Honey Signs - pleased you (seem to) like the new photo. Am precariously teetering on the edges of what I call a neurotic vortex attack - the new photo was meant to be something of a desperate measure against it but may actually manage to ensure I shut myself up on other people's sites (really, could you bear leaving that mark behind you several times in succession). This is not necessarily a bad thing, looking inwards and suffering what is found there is certainly not always pleasant but at times better than the manic hopping around being sociable and/or "funny" here and there. These things come and go and am, for some reason, feeling rather alright about nipping here to say hi to you but rather more universally unwanted elsewhere - isn't it peculiar? - so hope you are ok with it too.

I love Perfect Day although prefer the original version to the more recent release featuring several singers. Funny thing is I sang a bar or few of it out loud myself only yesterday (or possibly Monday - this week anyhow, and wholly without Lou's assistance, quite out of the blue), and am certainly going through a time of "I am a talentless pretender". Now, I know ethereal connections and synchronicites and all these "airy-fairy" things don't exist, yet it would seem odd enough to spook me out a little that you should write both these things.

I am not really saying anything specific or making a point as such here, just saying hi and being sociable. Hi, Signs. Bye for now, Signs.


Reading the Signs said...

hang on a minute ms fomp, but this is awesomely spooky, synchronicitous and of interest to a (somewhat flagging) signreader such as I be. And just to drive the matter home, I too prefer the Lou Reed version. Now I am no great shakes at algebra, but isn't it so that when two minuses cross each other they make a plus? Which means that we must now both be extremely talented real-thingers. Makes one humble really, doesn't it? Well, and a bit big-headed too, I suppose, if it weren't for the fact that one now has to get down to bashing the words out. A high destiny ours, anna. Gawd.

I thought I was someone else, someone good said...

Ah, Signs, you make sure you bash those words out. I think I'll wrap myself up in myself for tonight, quite literally (helps). Am also really pleased to have finally found a book again that I actually want to read - Edward St Aubyn's Bad News, I picked it up at a second-hand book store quite by chance yesterday for a euro, what a bargain! - I read "Mother's Milk" last year and loved it, and just knew I was going to like this one too. I am. Liking it. Unfortunately, it is quite a slim volume and I am already a quarter of the way through, so it'll only help for tonight. Still, better than nowt, you know.